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Accelerating Climate Action with Computer Science

Eventually, Dr. Bassett says, he began to see a lot of the same pain points across the board.

“One of the things that really struck me was, ‘How is there no specialized software to help on the data side specifically?’” he recalls. “You think about technology and the incredible impact it’s had on our lives in virtually every aspect of it, and then we get to something so critical as public environmental policy, and they just didn’t have those tools in the toolbox yet.”

Coming from industry, he continues, it was an eye-opening experience.

“Industry has enterprise software solutions for virtually everything, and so I was used to that culture and that environment from my industrial experience,” he says. “That was when the wheels started turning. How could one develop software or apply some principles of computer science and modern web development in order to leverage that toward this important problem?”

Simply put, how could computer science be used to help fight climate change? How could techniques that have worked in other industries be adapted to this unique public interest? The idea being to help everyone reduce emissions and increase sustainability over time.

Although Dr. Bassett didn’t have a computer science background, he says he enjoyed building and fixing computers as a young boy.

“I loved computers as a kid. I think I built my first computer with my mom before I could read the instruction manual,” he laughs. “I’ve always been really comfortable with computers, but never got to the point of programming, so it was really this interesting challenge of ‘Ok I’ve got this idea: let’s create software to help municipalities to measure their emissions and plan to reduce them. Now how do I start?’”

Before he officially started Climate Neutral, Dr. Bassett says he knew he needed to learn how to code. He spent the next six months in a cabin in Western Canada where he immersed himself in learning to code and program.

“While I was out there, I knew I’d be coming back home and I began to recall all the resources and help that EPICentre and WEtech had offered with my 3D printed turbines,” he notes. “I was very deliberately thinking, ‘Ok, when I get back to Windsor, I’m going to finish off this version of the prototype and show it to WEtech and see what they think.”

Upon his return, Dr. Bassett met with the team at WEtech and learned about the ScaleUP Accelerator Program. The award-winning program, powered by Libro Credit Union, provides intensive growth coaching, expert insight, strategic planning, and financial assistance to tech entrepreneurs in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent looking to scale their business.

“The timing of ScaleUP worked out so well,” he shares. “It was in perfect alignment with where my company was at. I needed to spend time and get support on the business development side and that was exactly what the program helped with. The stars really aligned there.”

Dr. Bassett says he is very grateful for the guidance and one-on-one coaching he received throughout the program and feels it helped him accelerate his business plan and get his software into the hands of municipalities sooner.

“After ScaleUP I was so motivated. I was able to fine tune the approach and optimize it based on what I learned,” he says. “I’ve been able to rewrite the software and start working with users. I can’t say enough good things about the program.”

WETechAlliance is one of seventeen Regional Innovation Centres, funded by the Province of Ontario, serving the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent regions. We provide entrepreneurs with business services, training, perks, mentorship and strategic connections to help bring new ideas to market, scale to the next level and build a dynamic culture and a community of innovation. WETechAlliance has served as the catalyst for technology and innovation in the Windsor-Essex + Chatham-Kent regions since 2011.

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